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Video Transcripts : How do I find more search results?

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Have you tried searching for your topic and found fewer results than you expected? This tutorial will show you a few strategies to increase the number of results you retrieve for your searches.

How do I find more search results? Title slide.

If your original search did not retrieve enough material. There are three places you can make changes to increase the number of results you retrieve. One, you can adjust your search terms. Two, you can try database filters. Three, you can try different databases. While the examples in this tutorial are from EBSCO databases, these strategies apply across databases.

If your original search didn't retrieve enough material, try thinking of related terms or synonyms for your search terms and linking them with OR. For example, cops or police. OR is also a helpful tool when the search needs to be as comprehensive as possible.

This example search for Cops retrieves just over a thousand articles. Compare this with the next search: Cops or police, which returns over forty-eight thousand.

Snap shots of searches in an EBSCO database for Cops and Cops OR Police with the number of results.
Sometimes you may not know or be able to think of additional synonyms or related terms to expand your search. And that's okay. One place you can look for ideas is the subjects that databases list for their articles in your search results. These terms are often listed below the articles in your list of results, and you may find additional terms here that you can add to your search to expand your results. Remember to add these new synonyms to your existing search terms with OR.

Same search result shown with subjects highlighted.
You can also expand your searches by looking for multiple forms of a word. This will increase your number of results. You can look for multiple word endings by doing truncation searching. First look for the common root word. Add an asterisk to the end of the common root. This will tell the database to return results that use that common root word in any variety of endings. Consider psychology. Alternate endings include psychological and psychologist. The common root is psycholog, so we add an asterisk to that root.

This example search for psychology had one point one million results, while a truncation search for psycholog* with an asterisk added over two hundred thousand more results.

Snap shots of searches in an EBSCO database for Psychology and Psycholog* with the number of results.
One of the most common mistakes that can overly restrict your search is using the full text filter in the library databases. The full text filter is found with the other database filters, often in a pane on the left side of the page. This filter is misleading. It restricts to only full text articles in the specific database you're currently using. Even if we may have full text access available through another library database or can get full text for you through interlibrary loan.

Example screen shots of the full-text filter option in a variety of databases.
In this example, a search for information sharing resulted in over eight thousand results. When we limit that same search for information sharing just to full text results, we cut the results in half.

Snap shots of searches in an EBSCO database for Information Sharing with and without the full text limiter applied with the number of results and the first few results.
Want full text? Look for links that say full text available. Check for links with variations of full text, online access, HTML full text, PDF or find a copy.

Example screen shots of the full-text indicator in a variety of databases.
A final way to expand your search is to try a variety of databases, including those from specific disciplines. Different disciplines will approach the same topic from their individual viewpoints. In this example, search for consumer behavior in psych info results in twenty-nine thousand results and the same search in business source complete retrieves over seventy thousand results. Snap shots of searches for consumer behavior in PsychInfo and Business Source Complete databases with the number of results and the first few results.
You can explore databases by discipline in the research guides. Click on the Research Guides link on the library's homepage. To get started. Choose one or more guides that are relevant to your topic area from the A to Z list. Then look for the list of recommended databases, sometimes called key resources on each guide's homepage. Screen capture demonstrates how to get to a sample research guide from the library homepage.
Need help? Have questions? Ask a librarian at Closing Slide: Ask a Librarian
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